Perhaps you’ve seen a press release or two over the last couple of months about a new International WELL Building InstituteTM (IWBI) initiative called WELL PortfolioTM — and if so, maybe you were wondering what it’s all about. We can help with that.WELL PORTFOLIO: WHAT IS IT?
This is a pilot program, officially called the WELL PortfolioTM Pathway. Being a pilot program, it’s a work in progress but the concept is for the IWBI to work with participating companies (Milliken among them) to take a promising concept and work collaboratively to develop it into a market-ready offering. A recent IWBI press release characterizes WELL Portfolio like this: “It is part of a suite of enhancements to WELL that addresses growing demand across the building industry for a program that helps owners, developers and tenants streamline and scale health and wellness upgrades to their real estate assets.”
That’s pretty broad. After all, it’s a press release! So you’re probably saying to yourself “OK, that’s terrific and everything — but it doesn’t really tell me much about what this thing actually does.” Fair enough. Here’s a summary of what the Portfolio is intended to do:
The big idea is to “streamline” the process for WELL Certification by establishing a pre-approval process for various Features in the standard. Where this becomes extremely helpful is when a company is looking to certify multiple buildings or spaces. If you’re familiar with WELL Certification, you know that a broad set of Features under 10 different Concepts (in the case of WELL v2) are what ultimately comprise the final certification. Right now, each project is treated independently from one another, meaning a company who wishes to certify 15 different spaces, under the current procedure, is required to handle each project individually. WELL Portfolio will put a process in place granting specific solutions (once approved) “pre-certification” for use across multiple locations. The focus will be on Features where policy documents are required to support certification and where these policies will be put in place across an entire portfolio of properties.
AN EXAMPLE WILL PROBABLY HELP
Milliken’s Chicago showroom has been certified WELL Platinum by the IWBI. So let’s look at an example from that certification process and see how it might become part of WELL Portfolio:
There were several features within the Chicago showroom WELL certification that dealt with company policies, such as: Feature 2 –Smoking Ban, Feature 65 – Activity Incentive Programs, Feature 85 – Integrative Design, Feature 90 – Healthy Sleep Policy, Feature 92 – Building Health Policy, and Feature 94 Self-Monitoring to name a few.
As Milliken works to certify multiple buildings, without the WELL Portfolio program we would be required to submit policy documents for each project individually. With the WELL Portfolio program, we will now be able to have many of these policy documents approved one time and then applied across our entire portfolio of properties saving time, money and resources.
The advantages should be pretty obvious. Imagine if a given location requires 70 different Feature confirmations, but 30 of those are included as part of the company’s WELL Portfolio. In such a case only 40 Features would need to be dealt with for that particular location, since there are already Portfolio solutions for each of the other 30. What’s also notable here is that the Portfolio Pathway should help incentivize the Certification process. The hope is that it will drive more companies to go for WELL Certification. A less complex process is easier to deal with — and it pretty much goes without saying that simplifying any process will usually motivate more people to try it. More WELL Certified spaces means healthier working environments for more people. That’s something we should all be able to get behind.